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The Annual Centres of Excellence Director’s Forum held in Port Elizabeth from 31 August till 2 September gave South African scientists a platform to discuss the Triumvirate (people, knowledge enterprise and engagement with society) Transformation in the DST-NRF Centres of Excellence. Presentations by the Minister of Science and Technology, the Honorable Naledi Pandor, Dr Mamphela Ramphele and Prof. Barney Pityana shaped discussions on the future of scientific research in South Africa. A future goal for science in South Africa should be the graduation of up to 5,000 PhD students per year who will be creators of knowledge in academia.

Core team members from the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology (CTHB) engaged young learners from Port Elizabeth at a science outreach forum. CTHB Deputy Director and Programme Manager, Prof. Emma Steenkamp, Prof. Ednah Kunjeku (CTHB Board member and University of Venda academic), Dr Martin Coetzee, Dr Alistair McTaggart and PhD candidate Benedicta Swalarsk-Parry discussed the benefits of a career in science and of postgraduate education with high school students. They shared some of their important knowledge in genomes, evolution and biotechnology, which are applied to tree health. Benedicta Swalarsk-Parry had an opportunity to meet with Minister Pandor as a post-graduate student and explain her decision to pursue a career in science and some of the achievements made by the CTHB.

New Publications

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Human ZR, Crous CJ, Roets F, Venter SN, Wingfield MJ, de Beer ZW. (2017) Biodiversity and ecology of flower-associated actinomycetes in different flowering stages of Protea repens. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 10.1007/s10482-017-0942-3
McTaggart AR, Beasley DR, Wingfield MJ, Wood AR, Pretorius ZA, Drenth A, Shivas RG, Roux J. (2017) A dynamic, web-based resource to identify rust fungi (Pucciniales) in southern Africa. MycoKeys 26:77-83. 10.3897/mycokeys.26.14602
De Maayer P, Aliyu H, Vikram S, Blom J, Duffy B, Cowan DA, Smits THM, Venter SN, Coutinho TA. (2017) Phylogenomic, pan-genomic, pathogenomic and evolutionary genomic insights into the agronomically relevant enterobacteria Pantoea ananatis and Pantoea stewartii. Frontiers in Microbiology 8(1755) 10.3389/fmicb.2017.01755
Jami F, Wingfield MJ, Gryzenhout M, Slippers B. (2017) Diversity of tree-infecting Botryosphaeriales on native and non-native trees in South Africa and Namibia. Australasian Plant Pathology 10.1007/s13313-017-0516-x
Stewart JE, Ross-Davis AL, Graҫa RN, Alfenas AC, Peever TL, Hanna JW, Uchida JY, Hauff RD, Kadooka CY, Kim MS, Cannon PG, Namba S, Simeto S, Pérez CA, Rayamajhi MB, Lodge DJ, Arguedas M, Medel-Ortiz R, López-Ramirez MA, Tennant P, Glen M, Machado PS, McTaggart AR, Carnegie AJ, Klopfenstein NB, Cleary M. (2017) Genetic diversity of the myrtle rust pathogen (Austropuccinia psidii) in the Americas and Hawaii: Global implications for invasive threat assessments. Forest Pathology 10.1111/efp.12378
Liebhold AM, Brockerhoff EG, Kalisz S, Nuñez MA, Wardle DA, Wingfield MJ. (2017) Biological invasions in forest ecosystems. Biological Invasions 10.1007/s10530-017-1458-5
Amuge T, Berger DK, Katari MS, Myburg AA, Goldman SL, Ferguson ME. (2017) A time series transcriptome analysis of cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) varieties challenged with Ugandan cassava brown streak virus. Scientific Reports 7:9747. 10.1038/s41598-017-09617-z
McTaggart AR, Shuey LS, Granados GM, du Plessis E, Fraser S, Barnes I, Naidoo S, Wingfield MJ, Roux J. (2017) Evidence that Austropuccinia psidii may complete its sexual life cycle on Myrtaceae. Plant Pathology 10.1111/ppa.12763
Wondafrash M, Slippers B, Garnas J, Hurley BP. (2017) Parasitoid assemblage associated with a North American pine weevil in South Africa. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 10.1111/afe.12246
Nzuki I, Katari MS, Bredeson JV, Masumba E, Kapinga F, Salum K, Mkamilo GS, Shah T, Lyons JB, Rokhsar DS, Rounsley S, Myburg AA, Ferguson ME. (2017) QTL Mapping for Pest and Disease Resistance in Cassava and Coincidence of Some QTL with Introgression Regions Derived from Manihot glaziovii. Frontiers in Plant Science 8(1168) 10.3389/fpls.2017.01168
Mostert D, Molina AB, Daniells J, Fourie G, Hermanto C, Chao C-P, Fabregar E, Sinohin VG, Hossain MDS, Masdek N, Visarto P, Rajapakse C, Thanh DT, Thangavelu R, Li C, Yi G, Wei Y, Mostert L, Viljoen A. (2017) The distribution and host range of the banana Fusarium wilt fungus, Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense, in Asia. PLoS ONE 12(7):24. 10.1371/journal.pone.0181630
Masumba EA, Kapinga F, Mkamilo G, Salum K, Kulembeka H, Rounsley S, Bredeson JV, Lyons JB, Rokhsar DS, Kanju E, Katari MS, Myburg AA, van der Merwe NA, Ferguson ME. (2017) QTL associated with resistance to cassava brown streak and cassava mosaic diseases in a bi-parental cross of two Tanzanian farmer varieties, Namikonga and Albert. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 10.1007/s00122-017-2943-z
Fraser S, McTaggart AR, Wingfield MJ, Roux J. (2017) Effect of temperature, leaf wetness and the developmental stage of host tissue on infection of Acacia mearnsii by Uromycladium acaciae (Pucciniales). Australasian Plant Pathology 10.1007/s13313-017-0503-2
Jankowiak R, Strzałka B, Bilański P, Linnakoski R, Aas T, Solheim H, Groszek M, De Beer ZW. (2017) Two new Leptographium spp. reveal an emerging complex of hardwood-infecting species in the Ophiostomatales. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 10.1007/s10482-017-0905-8
Ozturk KI, Chettri P, Dupont P-Y, Barnes I, McDougal RL, Moore GG, Sim A, Bradshaw RE. (2017) Evolution of polyketide synthesis in a Dothideomycete forest pathogen. Fungal Genetics and Biology 10.1016/j.fgb.2017.07.001
Wilken PM, Steenkamp ET, Wingfield MJ, De Beer ZW, Wingfield BD. (2017) Which MAT gene? Pezizomycotina (Ascomycota) mating-type gene nomenclature reconsidered. Fungal Biology Reviews 31:199-211. 10.1016/j.fbr.2017.05.003
Bush SJ, Dittrich-Schröder D, Neser S, Gevers C, Baffoe KO, Slippers B, Hurley BP. (2017) First record of Quadristichus mendeli, a parasitoid of Leptocybe invasa, in South Africa. Southern Forests 10.2989/20702620.2017.1318347
Beukes CW, Palmer M, Manyaka P, Chan W-Y, Avontuur JR, Van Zyl E, Huntemann M, Clum A, Pillay M, Palaniappan K, Varghese N, Mikhailova N, Stamatis D, Reddy TBK, Daum C, Shapiro N, Markowitz V, Ivanova N, Kyrpides N, Woyke T, Blom J, Whitman WB, Venter SN, Steenkamp ET. (2017) Genome data provides high support for generic boundaries in Burkholderia sensu lato. Frontiers in Microbiology 8 10.3389/fmicb.2017.01154
Hurley BP, Slippers B, Sathyapala S, Wingfield MJ. (2017) Challenges to planted forest health in developing economies. Biological Invasions 10.1007/s10530-017-1488-z
Bouwer MC, Slippers B, Wingfield MJ, Allison JD, Rohwer ER. (2017) Optimization of Pheromone Traps for Coryphodema tristis (Lepidoptera: Cossidae) . Journal of Economic Entomology 10.1093/jee/tox171